Facebook, Orkut: Time’s up?

I am over Facebook and Orkut. Maybe I am growing out of it, or maybe my standards for ways of wasting time are becoming, well, a little better. What matters is that I am officially done with clicking onto India’s fastest growing social networking website (That is how the popular magazine Outlook had described Facebook!). So I am not going to look at it more than once a day, and if I somehow muster some willpower, I may even get it down to once a week.

At first, it was a welcome novelty to catch up with friends from “a long time ago”. I found old school friends and people I don’t even like all that much – they are all to be found in the various dark corners of my friend list. Sure, things didn’t exactly extend to meaningful conversation – there is only so much quality catching up that can be achieved via a wall post or a scrap saying “Hey, how are you?”. But it was still nice to feel back in touch.

At first, it was enthralling to see how everyone had changed, like a school reunion that passed at an extremely slow pace. I enjoyed gawking at photos of people I hadn’t seen since my schooldays.
But the initial flood of friend requests has now stemmed to a trickle, and I am lucky these days if I get one new friend a fortnight. (Just to clarify: this isn’t an attempt to solicit a flood of new friend requests – like most people, I only add people I actually know in person.) But I’m now at the point at which I can pretty confidently say that more or less everyone I have ever known is in my friend list. So there is nowhere else to go from here but down.

At the same time, as the friend requests have dried up, the requests from those irritating applications have swelled into a tsunami- on Facebook (Compare People, Texas Hold ‘Em Poker, What Color is your eyes, I’m looking at you).

This leaves me with the built-in features. It really is depressing in every sense when people announce their break-ups online. And without wanting to completely irritate the Facebook friends I have, I have also noticed that on the whole there is an inverse proportion between the frequency with which people update their status, and how interesting their lives actually seem to be.

In more ways than one, I find Orkut to be more appealing in terms of the sheer ease of use. The important thing is that it has been kept simple although it does have a fair share of good-for-nothing communities. You see a lot of people who join endless number of communities without actually participating in any kind of activity.

Facebook has too much stuff for you to digest and in the beginning you end up doing all the “fun” stuff instead of getting in touch with the people you wanted to when you logged in. You end up forgetting about what you wanted to do because you are dragged into all those crappy applications and special requests.

There are a few things for which I will continue using these sites. It is brilliant for organizing social events, sharing photos. And well, we have even stopped being amused by the all that poking “fun”. So folks it seems, the show really is OVER!

I hope that these sites survive in some form, because it is a great way around the infuriating problem of everyone’s email addresses constantly changing. But, really, these sites just aren’t fun anymore, which leaves me desperate for a new way of filling the enormous amounts of time when I’m supposed to be doing other things.

Hari Ramchandaran

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